Aaron Yakovlevich Chernyak was born on June 21, 1921 in Smolensk, Russia. In 1927 his family moved southeast to Livni, in Orlovsk oblast. In 1939 Chernyak graduated high school, having earned a “gold medal diploma” [honors], and was accepted at the Moscow Institute of Chemical Engineering. However, a mandatory draft to all high school students was decreed and he began his military service instead. On July 2, 1941, Chernyak arrived at the front. In October of the same year his regiment was encircled in the “Vyazma Pocket”. He emerged from the territory after a month and a half, and reached Soviet forces. In 1942 Chernyak was deployed to the Southwestern front and participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. As a sergeant, he commanded the 152 mm gun reconnaissance battery, fighting in battles at: Voroshilovograd (Lugansk), Donbass, Crimea, Belorussia, the Baltics, and in the Battle of Konigsberg. He celebrated Victory in Laipeja, where after some resistance, a Germany army of 300,000 surrendered. He was awarded with the Order of the Great Patriotic War, Medal of Valor, Medals for the Defense of Moscow, Defense of Stalingrad and for the Capture of Konigsberg. After demobilization he graduated from Teacher’s College, Department of History, and worked at the school of the Lenin Library in Moscow and at the Moscow Institute of Library Sciences. Chernyak earned his Ph.D. and is the author of multiple books and articles. In 1991 he emigrated to Israel. 

An invitation to join the NKVD.

A unique profile characterized Chernyak's artillary regiment.

Swimming across the Oskol River and retreating to Stalingrad.

Inside the Vyazma encirclement.

Saved by the cobbler with a pair of new boots.

The true meaning of victory!